Monday 31 August 2020

Monday morning early

I had a really early start this morning, anticipating that the Garden Centre which is our best one would be open for business and Mr Braithwaite would be there to offer advice.   The centre is in Bedale, which is about twelve miles from where I live and I must say this is the furthest I have driven since Lockdown began.   The trouble at my age is that if one doesn't keep driving one begins to lose confidence - I have several friends who have reached this stage and as I am coming up to my eighty-eighth birthday I really would like to hold on a bit longer - but not of course until I become a liability on the road.


The roads were quite busy but I know the way well  and got there with no trouble.   I had already rung to check that there would be somebody there to offer advice and he was waiting when I arrived.   I wished to buy the evergreens for planting up my patio when it is finished.   He suggested seven different ones in various greens and yellows - and one which goes orange in Winter.  Those chosen they were put on one side for delivery next week.  I then bought - and brought home - violas and polyanthus to plant up the tubs by my front door for over wintering.


I found driving back harder - I came a slightly different way - an easier way - but I was saddened because I ran over and killed a pigeon.   I know many folk dislike pigeons, seeing them as pests.   But I happen to think that all nature's creatures have an equal right to life (not sure about rats).     Arriving home I was just too weary to lift the box of tub plants out of the boot of my car.   I struggled into the house, put the remains of my yesterday's cottage pie on a plate, put mixed veg in the steamer for five minutes, stuffed a Bramley apple with raisins and honey and within about ten minutes had a lunch ready.   Then I sat down and had an hour's sleep.   I feel much more awake now!


The plants will be here early next week and once that area is finished there is only the Mares Tail plot to deal with.   'Only' I say - but together D, my gardener, and I will beat it. (says she hopefully). 

Sunday 30 August 2020

Sunday morning early!

To be honest 'very early'!   What is that noise I thought - it continued - it was the men who had arrived to continue with my patio.   They should easily finish taking up the crazy paving this morning so then I need to ask at what point I need to go and buy the plants for them to put in.   Will they put them in before or after the weed suppressant layer goes down?   I insist I am having either five or seven evergreen shrubs to sit among the pebbles.   They are greatly amused by this - my insistence on having an odd number.   But I always think an odd number makes for a better display than an even number.  Would you agree or am I being stupid?


Doing my Tesco order for Tuesday I have decided on a Chunky vegetable soup for my next recipe in my soup maker.   All the veggies are now ordered.  I am also going to try to be a bit more adventurous with my meals and am going to try Fajitas one day next week with mozarella, olives, tomatoes and a rather strange seasoning which surprisingly Tesco did have.   I have got a bit lazy doing the same things and getting rather bored with it all so I am pushing the boat out - I will report back.


I still have not got to grips with the photographs on my new desk top - either the storing of them or the publishing of them on my blog posts.   So for the time being there will be no photographs - sorry.


Not a bad day from inside looking out of the window.   Still a strong (cold) breeze but plenty of blue sky and skudding white clouds.   Just needs to warm up a bit now.   Not sure whether Percy and I will venture out today or not.  I went back to wearing my boots yesterday instead of Summer shoes and I fo.und that the ankle support my boots give me makes walking much easier, which is good.   Anything which aids my mobility is a plus these days.   Have a pleasant Sunday despite the chilly weather. We British are a hardy lot - we need to be

Saturday 29 August 2020


As I sit here at the computer, next to a radiator, I notice that the heating is on.   Is that extravagant of me?   After all, it isn't September yet and it is half past eleven in the morning.   Well, my thermostat is set at eighteen, the sun is out intermittently but not at the moment and I do feel the cold.   I won't go into how many layers I am wearing, but I will say that I do begin to wonder what I shall wear in Winter.


We have had our usual Zoom coffee morning this morning - and as usual it was very pleasant.   A friend and neighbour is coming round for a cup of tea this afternoon and there are two interesting programmes this evening on BBC Four (This Farming Life and Michael Palin's Pole to Pole, which I have seen before but which I enjoyed so much that I am enjoying again second time round). So that is today taken care of.   There will be no stroll with Percy because it is too windy.

I watched The Proms last evening but it is just not the same without the audience and with the players so spaced out.   They did their best but I felt that they too felt the lack of audience.   There is a piece in The Times this morning which made me smile, speaking of the Proms.   If you are old enough to remember Constance Shacklock (never been beaten in my humble opinion) there is a piece about her having a recording of her singing Rule Brittania at The Proms and somebody asked her to play it for them.   She did so and they asked what was on the B side of the record.   She played that for them too - it was the applause!  As for whether Rule Brittania and Land of Hope and Glory should still be played at the Proms - well I can see both sides of the argument and I don't really wish to come down on either side.   That we milked countries dry in the days of Colonialism is in no doubt but personally I can't say I ever thought of that when hearing those two 'songs'.   That doesn;t make it right though.

Well, I shall go now and eat another dish of my soup and then a Forestiere Mushroom omelette with parmesan on top.  I actually switched on to add a few things to my Tesco order - I intend to try out tortilla wraps - a recipe in today's Times magazine.   It's about time I  cooked something different.   Have a good weekend.


Friday 28 August 2020


And the start of August Bank Holiday week-end, traditionally awful weather and, if today is anything to go by, this week-end will not break the mould..  It is cold, windy and wet.   As I write clouds of rooks are soaring across the garden and the field behind it, blown this way and that by a strong wind.   I have the central heating on and last night had the electric blanket on for the first hour after retiring.


I am having a quiet day today after all the activity yesterday - and am enjoying it.   Living alone can often be a lonely experience but when visitors arrive and there is a fun day then the next day is usually pleasant - no food to think about because there is plenty left, no tidying up or dusting or hoovering - because it has all just been done.   And old friends like yesterday's are always a joy to see.



I don't expect to see the two men working on my patio this week-end.   It is a holiday week-end and I can't see the weather being miraculously more clement by tomorrow.   Still it will all get finished one day (I hope).   In the meantime I must begin to look for possible conifers and evergreen shrubs to plant. 

I have just researched a chunky soup recipe for next week and added the vegetable ingredients to my Tesco delivery order for Tuesday.  I have a Zoom with friends in the morning and then I shall drive down to the kitchen shop in our little town and hopefully buy some plastic containers so that I can cook enough each week to eat for two days and freeze the rest  - good warming winter food.

There go the rooks again - not sure whether they are enjoying the experience of being swept across the sky or whether they would just like to go home to bed.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday 27 August 2020

Friends for lunch

My dearest and oldest friends for lunch today - over from Windermere.   I have to plan carefully these days when I am entertaining, but I have always loved entertaining and want to continue doing it as long as I can.   I tried my Soup Maker out for the first time with Tomato and Basil Soup and it was easy to follow the instructions - it was delicious we all three agreed.   I followed this with a  plate of various salamis, some just-cooked Cumberland Sausage and some Mushroom and ham quiches and a bowl of roasted new potatoes - plus various salads.   And what was left finished off at tea time with fresh bread rolls and then Wensleydale cheeses and fruit cake.   Now my friends have gone, the dish washer is on and outside the rain is coming down quite heavily again.   Nothing changes there then.   It is important to me that I keep going with entertaining - I have always done it and once I stop I don't suppose I shall start again.   We had a lovely day.   Until tomorrow.

Wednesday 26 August 2020


Wednesday and the same old weather.   It is hard to believe that that glorious Monday is only two days away - it is like a completely different season.  My poor old half-done patio looks in a sorry state - I just. hope we have a dry spell so that we can see it finished before Winter.   And the same goes for the last spraying of the Mares Tail.   In the giant scheme of things, with all that is going on in the world at present, both things seem so petty.   The trouble again over the shooting in America, the spreading again on Covid and as yet no end in sight, where will it all end?


My day has been quite uneventful.   I had coffee with friend D this morning and we caught up on all our news - that was a pleasant couple of hours.   This afternoon I prepared for my friends P and D coming over in their bubble tomorrow from Windermere to have lunch with me.   They are to be guinea pigs in the first use of my soup-maker (tomato and basil which is the first one in the book and looks fail-safe but time will tell, there are so many different buttons to press).   I have a hair appointment in the morning as I do every Thursday so I have to be well-prepared today.


Earlier today friends called to show me their new puppy - a cross between a Pekinese and a Shidtzu (sorry about the spelling).   I am really not happy about all these crossbreeds but I have to say it was quite the prettiest  puppy I have ever seen .This is the first time for many years that I have been without a dog - Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, German Short-haired Pointer, Border Terrier - all lovely dogs and I would love one now but my walking is too bad to walk it and it just wouldn't be fair.   The lady who walked Tess died very suddenly about six months before Tess and Tess missed her terribly.


Still, we do know when we get our pets that we are going to outlive them (until you get to my age of course) - reading John's post the other day about the dogs he had lost made me sad for him too.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday 25 August 2020


The only word I can think of to describe today's weather is 'disgusting' - it has either rained, poured or deluged all day.   It has at least tidied up my gardening from yesterday but that is all that can be said for it.   Storm Francis I believe and hopefully he will soon be passed and on his way.   Yesterday was so lovely it gave us false hope.   Today is so awful that I can hardly walk my arthritis is so bad in my ankles.   Still - the kitchen floor has had a birthday - I have mopped it for the first time in a long time and by golly it shows.


My soup maker came and I have unpacked it and washed it and - after a bit of help from friend S - have managed to find out how to get the lid off. Friends P and D are coming over 'in their bubble' for lunch (socially distanced) on Thursday and we shall have Tomato and Basil soup to try it out.  As Autumn comes on I am sure I shall get good use out of my new toy.


In spite of wet weather outside I must now go and put out my green garden bin for collection in the mo rning, so see you all tomorrow.   Have a good evening.

Monday 24 August 2020

A Perfect Day.

 Today has been a perfect Summer's day - clear blue sky, no wind, warm sun.   The forecast for tomorrow is not good so make the most of today.  I decided that instead of walking today Percy and I would tidy up the bed in the garden to give the fresh air a chance to circulate round the roots of the plants before Autumn arrives.    We had an hour out there  - several sits down, a lot of cutting back and (the one good thing about  I this time of the year) how much better it looks now that I have done it.


I had intended to have a walk after lunch but various things held me up and as my Soup maker was scheduled to come between three and four this afternoon I decided against it.   It is now almost seven in the evening and it still hasn't come but I have had an e mail telling me they do intend to deliver it today - so we shall see.   I am really looking forward to getting going wit h my Soup maker.   I have had a succession of Blenders which have made soup  - well I have made it in a saucepan and then transferred the mixture to the blender.   This machine makes it in its entirety so I will refer back when I have given it a go.   The advice I have had from those with a soup maker is to follow the recipes in the recipe book at first so that I get used to the correct quantities (it is easy when one is just making with left-overs to fling everything in the pan and hope for the best).  I don't care for soups with a meat base - my mother's favourite soup which I must say she made very well was made with the remains of a ham shank and dried peas.  I wonder - can you still buy a ham shank?   I haven't seen one for years - I eat very little meat so rarely go into a butcher's shop.

Still no soup maker - can't imagine it will come at this time of night.


Sunday 23 August 2020

Another memory

Last evening I watched a programme on King GeorgeV and Queen Mary - such an interesting programme, there was so much in it that I didn't know.   But there was one thing in the programme that brought back what must have been one of my earliest memories because it happened in 1935 when I would have been three.   I remember their Silver Jubilee so clearly.   There was a huge celebratory fair held on the Cattle Market site on Monk's Road in Lincoln and my father took my brother and me.   I was three so my brother would have been fourteen.   I remember lots of side shows, lots of stalls, lots of fairground rides - but what I remember most of all is that he bought me a rag doll which was as big as I was.   It was red, white and blue and I had it for years.   Channel 5 seems to have the monopoly on programmes about royalty - - I am not particularly royalist but I have learnt such a lot about their history that I didn't know.


Three times so far today I have got togged up ready to go for a walk with Percy and three times, before we could venture out of the garage, it has rained quite heavily.   I have given up so have now gone for three days without a walk out.   The trouble is that I walk so slowly that if I get caught in a rain shower I am wet through be cause I am unable to hurry.


My soup maker has left the warehouse and is on its way - the wonders of the computer - I can track it all the way here so I don;t need to wait in for it   But if the weather continues in this vein I don't expect to be going anywhere.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Come again another day!

Rain, rain go away.   I don;t expect Derek down there in Kent is saying the old rhyme  - down there on the Isle of Sheppey they seem to be getting one day of heavy rain and then a couple of days of heat and drying wind and they are back to square one again - drought. But up here in The Dales we do seem to be having Autumnal weather quite early.   It is only nine in the morning and in the two hours since I got up we have seen the whole gamut -gloom, rain, sunshine, gloom again and we have just had a downpour - sun about to come out again.  One thing is sure - the men will not be back to work on my patio this morning.   I shall be back to write more later but have just realised I have a Zoom coffee morning with the 'girls' at ten so shall have to get showered and dressed, so see you later.


We had a pleasant Zoom meeting - all six of us there this morning and I have another Zoom with my niece scheduled for tomorrow - the wonders of modern science.   How much harder lockdown would have been before the days of computers, television and suchlike.   Although what we have never had we would never have missed so I am sure we would have entertained ourselves just as well.


There will be no going out for Percy and I today because the wind is still far too strong.

Reading through my Good Housekeeping magazine which came yesterday I saw that this month's tests had been on Soup Makers.   I switched on my computer late yesterday evening intending to buy myself a cashmere jumper for winter and then had a bright idea.    I have not filled up my car with petrol since before lockdown.   Instead of buying a cashmere jumper to add to my collection, why not buy a  soup maker instead.   No sooner said that done and now, sometime this week, well in time for Autumn and Winter (soup days) I shall be using my new machine.   I have always made a lot of soup but now, having a machine to come to my aid , the world's my oyster.  Anyone got any good soup ideas please?

Friday 21 August 2020


There is a howling gale - the noise is quite fearsome and there is without a doubt no walk today for Percy and me, we would have difficulty in keeping our wheels and feet.   And in any case I needed to stay in today for two reasons.   The first of these was the delivery of my locally cooked ready meals - they are delicious and can now be bought in single, for one, portions.  They can be eaten fresh or they can be frozen and they are made by a very reputable local company.  I kept out the Lasagne for lunch today and the rest have been frozen = pork goulash, hunter's chicken, fish pie, chicken in white wine sauce, the lot and my freezer is full to bursting.   I had it with garden peas, it was deliciously tasty and the house smells beautiful!


The other reason for staying in is that the electrician is coming to try and locate the source of a noise like a switch which has been annoying me ever since I came to live here.   It suggests a thermostat clicking on and off and sometimes it keeps me awake at night.   By the time I am writing this he has been and has disconnected one possible source of the noise but in fact I think I have heard the noise again since he went.   But we did have a pleasant chat about our little town and all the old shops which  have long since disappeared.  He is a local and has never lived anywhere else whereas I am very much an 'incomer' but I have now lived here for thirty three years so I am getting there.


Television-wise it is one of my favourite evenings of the week as Monty Don is presenting 'Gardeners' World' at eight o'clock.   How my father would have loved Monty.   I loved my father very much - he was a kind and gentle man and he taught me a love of all nature.  Here is a poem I wrote some years ago in his memory (he died in 1971)

                            'The Armchair Gardener'         

                Swathes of poppies,

                banks of delphiniums,

                fronds of ferns and

                a cascade of pools.   


                He planned it all from the

                comfort of his armchair.


                golden dandelions     

                and a rash of purple thistles 

                painted their own canvas. 

Thursday 20 August 2020


Sometimes with new blogger things go oddly wrong.   Why my label for yesterday should read 'The Dancing Sailors' by Ann Pilling I have no idea - but I don't want to interfere as it then takes so long to wriggle out of all the new procedure - so just ignore it please.

 A nice, breezy, sunny day today and everything has dried up nicely.   I do wish the two men doing my patio had come today while everything is dry - I fear by the week end it will have rained again and everywhere will be a sloppy mess.   But after my very useful day all round yesterday today has not been as successful.   To start with, because I had been so busy all day, my mind was very active and I found sleep impossible.   At half past one this morning I got up and made myself a cup of cocoa (delicious) and sat and read for an hour. This meant that I slept in a little and as I have to be at the Hairdresser at 9am I had to rush.  Our little town is bedevilled by traffic lights at present and they were by my usual parking place, so I had to park in the market square which made my walk to the hairdressers longer than usual.  When I came out I found the walk back quite a struggle, particularly as I called in and queued to  pay my newspaper bill.   The upshot was that I called in my favourite  coffee shop for the first time since lockdown and bought a pot of my favourite coffee and a toasted teacake.  Needless to say I didn't feel like lunch so I didn't eat that until after two when I had scrambled eggs.

 Now it is almost half past four and I shall go and put my feet up and watch Antiques Road Trip and write today off to experience.   Enjoy your evening. 

Wednesday 19 August 2020


 Such a lovely morning here - warm and sunny with just a slight breeze but it has been all downhill (or maybe that should be uphill) since then and now, late afternoon, it is chilly and raining and the sky is full of big dark clouds.   I do hope this is not the end of Summer and the start of Autumn.  Our Summers are never all that long up here in the North but a few extra weeks would be rather nice.

I had a piggle at my shredder - there was a piece of paper stuck in the works and I  couldn't get it going.   Shredders really are frustrating things I find.  When they are working they are such helpful things.   I did a nice lot of office work this morning and after half an hour with the tweezers it is working again.   One lot through before I put this post on and now, when I finish it another lot through.

Not a lot to write today - I did have a short walk round the block with Percy but my arthritis is very bad today - rain coming always makes it worse but the flip side of course is that it did make me do my office work so not all bad.   Hairdresser in the morning - early as usual.

Tuesday 18 August 2020


 Tuesday - notable here for being Dustbin Day - one week Green bin for Garden Rubbish and then various recycling receptacles and the other week for Grey 'Ordinary' dustbin.   Works like clockwork and -because of my age and disability - my stuff is collected from the top of my drive.   But don't let's feel too smug about how we collect all that plastic for recycling when we see on the News the amount of plastic in the sea and read in the papers how tiny plastic particles are now regularly found in the human body.

I am gradually getting used to my new Dell but I do apologise how I never seem to get the same size of print two days running.   This is the size I prefer so I will try to stick with it from now on.   The trouble is that this new machine is so very sensitive that I only have to move a finger and I lose the whole thing or I change the size of the type or something else happens to throw a spanner in the works.

All Summer long a little mouse has lived in the wall behind my only rose.   We have met regularly and I have become quite attached to him/her.   Now this morning he lies dead on my patio.   A tabby passes through my garden each morning - are the two things connected?   I expect so.   Nature red in tooth and claw.

I'm afraid Autumn has arrived overnight here.   I do hope we get just a little more Summer.   My Mares Tail weed has yet to be sprayed for a start and my Patio has still to be finished.   At present it is a quagmire - there is no way I can walk over it to cut back my antirrhinums - a shame because one cut back and I just might get a new crop of flowers.   Still, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs as they say.

Monday 17 August 2020

Monday Blues

I certainly seem to have the blues at the moment, possibly because, as so many of you are saying, everything seems to be going wrong at the moment.  It would be so easy(and is easy when one lives alone) to sink into the 'slough of despond'.   But it is a pretty pointless exercise because it doesn't make anything any better.   The answer for me to day has been to keep as busy as possible.


I needed to go into town to reorganise some of my financial affairs and when I had done that I decided to drive the five miles or so to the farm shop where I buy my ready-made meals - forgetting that they don't open on Mondays.   Never mind, my little car enjoyed the jaunt - she never goes anywhere these days (I haven't filled her up since the beginning of lockdown).   On my return I e mailed my order through and then got my lunch (fish pie and mushy peas).   I had a very bad night last only, only discovering when I got up this morning that I had forgotten to take my medication at bedtime, which is probably why.   So after lunch I had a rest with The Times and then did an hour at reorganising my files.   

After watching the News Headlines I did an hour's cutting back in the garden - how this hot weather and then rain has finished so much of the herbaceous border.   And now I have just read all your posts - so a busy day.   And speaking of the News - I am pleased to see that the Government have seen sense and are now relying on Teacher Assessment for O and A Level Results.

There has been an improvement in the weather today.   First last week we had several glorious days of scorching-hot sunny weather, then several days of intense humidity together with heavy cloud and a thick mist everywhere so that it never really got light.   Now today I drew back the curtains to pouring rain but by lunch time a watery sun was out and it has been a pleasant and warm afternoon.  Lovely to see a bit of blue sky again.   I just hope we miss the thunderstorms which are forecast.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Gardening and other pastimes!

Alright - I will admit it - sadly 'gardening' as such is no longer a pastime as I wobble about the garden with Percy, trying to keep my balance.   But I make a good Supervisor when either D1 or D2 do a major job.   And this part of my garden has been a thorn in my flesh ever since I came to live here and now, at last I am getting something done about it.   Of course this morning the weather has stepped in to 'stop play' but a start has been made.   D2 came again yesterday morning (D1 was busy elsewhere) and they are gradually making progress.   The whole area was covered with a thick layer of crazy paving.   I am having it taken up, weed suppressant cover put down and then a thick layer of pebbles laid with stepping stone paving slabs across to the path into the rest of the garden.  An odd number (perhaps 5 or 7) evergreen shrubs - of fairly upright habit - will be planted to break up the monotony of the pebbles and each will have its own special watering channel at the side of it.   I can't put pots on the pebbles because I don't any longer find it easy to get up to this level.   But I took a picture of D2 working yesterday morning - and managed after a bit of fidding about to get it on here using the new Blogger.   I will take more pictures as work progresses.   It is raining heavily now so there will be not work today.

Saturday 15 August 2020

Another Saturday

 How quickly Saturdays seem to come round.   The gardener who is transforming my Patio was here early this morning to do another stint at getting the old crazy paving up.   It is three quarters up now and once that is done that is the real donkey work over.   He and my usual gardener are working together but my usual chap couldn#t come this morning for some reason.   It will be so good when it is all done.

A Zoom coffee morning this morning - five of us and a nice relaxed chat.   I have nothing else to do today and it is neither raining nor not raining - just damp paths and a fine mist, grey skies and no warmth (thermal vest back on this morning) - sorry if that is too much information.

I have just typed a long business letter on my new computer and printed it out - hard work, but done now.   Now what I need to do as a matter of urgency is enlarge the cursor which is minute - larger and a brighter colour will be a great help but I shallnt do it today - sufficient unto the day and all that.   My new laptop is very sensitive and things disappear at the drop of a hat which is a bit frustrating but hopefully I shall get used to it.  Enjoy your Saturday evening.

Friday 14 August 2020

Friday and thick cloud again.

I had nothing at all planned for today.   I awoke early and couldn't get back to sleep again.   Sometimes when this happens I tend to have negative thoughts which can be so self-destructive - in which case I always think it best to get up and start my day early.  By early I mean seven o'clock, although it is such a dull day that it hardly seemed light - and thus it has been all day.


Poor old A Level students - all that work they have put in and then the Government base the results on some stupid algorithm or other rather than on the Professional expertise of the people who have taught them, who know how much work they have put in and can therefore make a judgement on how they would have done which is much more likely to be a realistic assessment.


Breakfast over I switch on my new computer to find my security system  telling me it needs to speak to me.   Can I communicate with them?  The simple answer is No so I have to ring my son who talks me through it over the telephone.   That done I do my usual quick tidy through and any cleaning which needs doing.  I have a bill to pay so write out the cheque and decide that Percy and I will walk to pay it to  L who kindly does some shopping for me (and fish and chips too this week).   So immediately after my stir fry lunch I set off down the estate - the longest walk I have done since lockdown began.   We took it steady, going along at a wandering pace and as I came in sight of 'home' I saw friends T and S were just about to leave having found me out.  They had brought me the jar of honey I had requested so it will be toast and honey for breakfast in the morning.


D called to tell me he will continue working on my patio in the morning, which is good news.   The sooner it is done the better - we can get it planted up and that will be another area done.


I managed to change the time on my new computer - it seemed to be set to continental time of some kind - I was rather pleased to find it easy to do.


Now after my ham sandwich and crisps tea I just have this to do and then I shall settle down for the evening - quite a busy day after all - several nice long chats, a good walk and a nice lunch and tea - I am ending the day in a much better frame of mind than the one I started it in.   Enjoy your evening.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Into town

 Today for the first time during Lockdown I had my first real trip into town - first to the Hairdressers and then on to the Building Society.    We are a holiday area, with lots of Holiday cottages and so the town was busy - the car parks were full, the cafes were full and there were lots of folk wandering about and looking in the shop windows - just like in normal times.   It all seemed a bit strange and will take some getting used to - for me at any rate.

It is actually rather nice to have a day without the sun.   The heat is still around but there is no sign of any sunshine, it is just very heavy and dull.   I expect it is coming in off the North Sea.   All I can say is that people seem rather relieved to see it.   A haircut, paying money into my Savings account, then home again to read The Times.   A cold lunch - pork pie, tomatoes and crisps - because a friend is bringing me a fish and chip tea at six this evening and boy am I looking forward to it - it is a long time since I had such a thing.

Walking round town was quite hard without Percy but I can't get him into the back of my car so I have to make do with just my stick.   Going into a supermarket is good because a trolley is marvellous support but it is then difficult to get the produce to my car boot.

I have the chiropodist coming at three thirty this afternoon so even my feet are having a birthday today.   I think this is the busiest day I have had since lockdown began -  quite exciting really.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 12 August 2020


We are just not used to this intense heat and humidity and I for one am finding any kind of motivation very difficult.   My computer room looks out to the North which means it is always cool and my patio doors are also on the North so it is possible to keep my bungalow cool.   I have not cooked a lunch today, relying instead on a pork pie and salad - so I am keeping as cool as I can.   I really wonder how people who live in tropical climes manage to get any work done.


My brain feels addled with all the heat and I just can't think of a single subject to write about.   The whole subect of Covid 19 seems done to death - it is still as serious as it ever was and I am sure it is by no means behind us but wherever I go around home here some people seem to be obeying all the rules and others seem to be ignoring them competely.   Maybe, because we have had so little of it around here I rather think we have become a bit complacent.

My poor garden begins to look parched.  I know that watering it is not the answer - that just encouragess the roots to come to the top for a drink.  Hopefully, if they search downwards with their roots they will encounter damp soil before long.  One thing for sure - there are butterflies and bumble bees in profusion today and that has got to be good.   So take a break in the sun if you are able to do so.    I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Day two and still learning.

The weather here is indescribably humid.  Lightning flashed all night again but no thunder so too far away in the West.  I have just had a walk round with Percy before it gets any hotter.   He is out in the sunshine in case I feel like another walk early evening when it has cooled down a bit.

The air is so still and there is almost a sense of 'waiting' for a storm.  I believe they are likely to go up the West of the country rather than up this side but there is certainly a feeling in the air.

Children in Scotland are back at school today after almost five months away - they will feel strange.   Really the whole world has changed so much during the time of Covid that one wonders if total normality will ever return again.

I feel slightly more at ease with my new laptop but the size of type keeps changing of its own accord (probably my hands hovering over it I would guess) and various strange things keep popping up.   But I shall get there.    I have a Zoom meeting with friends later today so I hope I can manage to get that - time will tell.   I will add to this later in the day (if I can get back on to it!!)

Monday 10 August 2020

Here at last (fingers crossed)

Well I think I am home and dry as far as my posts are concerned.   I got my new Dell laptop on Saturday and my son has kindly set it up for me.   Now I am getting used to it and trying to apply Computer Sense to what ever I do - sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully.   The trouble is that my computer knowledge is not always trustworthy.  I really don't think I am a very logical thinker.   But I shall persevere and you will all (hopefully) bear with me for a while.

Considering we are still in semi-lockdown I have really had quite a busy week-end.   I  had asked some builders to take up my upper patio of crazy paving and replace it with pebbles so that I can plant maybe five evergreen shrubs in it to make the area more interesting.    They came to start the operation over the weekend.   In addition I had a series of phone calls and yesterday afternoon friends S and T called with some, runner beans, a courgette and a cucumber.   I have had them for my lunch today with a cottage pie - delicious.   Then my friend and neighbour came round for a chat - so the week end soon passed.

Today has really been one of teething problems with my new laptop but I am gradually getting used to it and every step forward I make gives me a little more confidence.   The weather is extremely humid - still, hazy sunshine and very warm.   Thunderstorms are forecast throughout the week and it will be hit and miss whether we get one or not.   I can't imagine it will be pleasant sleeping tonight as the weather is so very close.

One thing I shall have to do soon on my new laptop is to set the time correctly.   As I write this the time is a quarter past seven in the evening but my laptop tells me it is a quarter past eleven.  I shall retire to the sitting room now to give myself  a break - and return, refreshed, tomorrow.   Sleep well.

Friday 7 August 2020

Should we listen? Should we care?

Half of me feels quite ashamed to write this,  but the other half recognises that I can't do anything so that all it does is it makes me feel totally inadequate.  I watched half an hour of the Breakfast programme on BBC this morning over my breakfast.   In the course that half hour I saw:

1.  The terrible loss of life and devastation in Beirut.

2.  The new lock downs here, there and everywhere just underlining

     the fact that people are not following the rules.

3.  People crossing the Channel in flimsy inflatable boats,

     trying desperately to get across to the  UK. 

4.  A forecast for the next year's economic growth (or lack of it)

    and the possible unemployment figures.


I am in my late eighties, I am aware of all these things, but I can do

 absolutely nothing about any of them.  Do I keep torturing myself every morning watching and despairing or do I stop watching - in other words do I say 'Stop the World I want to get off?'


Changing the subject completely (I cannot worry about the above all

day) my new computer has just come but because my son has only just returned from a car service he has decided to leave it until tomorrow.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Still here.

My new computer is 'en route' but has not yet arrived so this dear little old one still sits here and allows me to put on a post - I anticipate problems of a teething nature as I increasingly realise that I really know absolutely nothing about the 'workings' of the computer.   When I mention something my son looks at me in amazement and says things like 'that is not how it works Mother'.   I am determined that when I get au fait with it I shall make more of an effort to really understand how things work.   It will probably come tomorrow, in which case I shall not be posting.

Hair day today - I have really got it well-organised now.   Each Thursday I leave home half an hour before my appointment taking with me the Times Mind Page which gives me a variety of things to .do.   This means I can find a place to leave the car near to the salon.
(I do have a Blue Badge and could park outside but it would hold the traffic up on a busy road).   With just five minutes to go I put on my face mask and gently walk to the salon.  It is difficult to get Percy in the car on my own so I go gently with a stick.   Today I parked next to a car which had been very badly damaged in some kind of crash.   One side of the car was completely battered in - it was like parking next to a wounded animal.

The morning here was a delight - hot sun, no wind - Summer at last.   But as the day has gone on it has clouded in and it is much cooler.   I am religiously doing my new balance exercises after each meal - I somehow feel these will help me although they are a bit scary to do.

Beirut is so distressing.   My Grand daughter's friend has lived there for some years but happily she is safe.   I see that countries (including Israel) are sending relief teams.  I am not sure how one equates helping the wounded and buried people with contemplating fighting a war - there is something about the whole conflict that I just don't understand.   And it is not just because I am getting old - I can blame my lack of computer knowledge on that but I have never understood - and never will - how two nations can fan the flames of hatred for as long as Israel and Lebanon have done.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

A Short Post

Just a short post today - and sorry I missed yesterday altogether.   The fact is that my laptop is getting to be old (join the club) and is beginning to play up (well I did fall over this morning, luckily while the falls nurse was here so she had a demo) again like me.   After a lot of thought and a lot of deliberating between an ipad and a laptop - and whether to go for an apple ipad or a Dell laptop I have decided on the latter.   One reason for this is that I am happy with Windows 10 and reasonably confident to use it so don't really want to have to learn a new system; another reason being that I don't want something I can use on my knee - I need the exercise of physically getting up and going to my computer room to work on it.   So today the time I would normally spend doing my post I am getting this laptop ready by deleting old contacts I no longer need, sorting through documents I no longer need and deleting then - that kind of thing so that my son, who has offered to set it up for me when it comes, has an easier job.  Oh dear, the wonders of modern science.

The events in the Lebanon have cast a cloud (in more ways than one) over everything today - unimaginable chaos, destruction and loss of life.   I sat eating my breakfast this morning, looking out of the window and imagining - if it had been here then the whole of the little town would have been flattened, friends would have gone for ever, lives would have been destroyed - it doesn't bear thinking about.

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow but there will shortly be a gap while things are changed over.   See you soon.

Monday 3 August 2020

New Reading

We had our first Book Group meeting this morning - the first since Lockdown began in late March.   It was good.   There were only five of us but it was a start.   We met at TOSH (The Old School House) which is our local Arts Centre.   Everything was in place for Social Distancing and Sanitser was provided.

It is so long since we read our last book and  J, who had suggested it, was unable to  attend this morning so instead we all opted to bring with us books we had read during Lockdown and which we could recommend.   I took four.   I could have taken twenty but I thought four was enough.   Here are the titles for the benefit of anyone who is looking for new reading material.

'On the Red Hill'   by Mike Parker.  Simon Callow in The Guardian speaks of it as 'the recreation of the lives of Reg and George, crowned in happiness and fulfilment despite the constrictions imposed on them by society.   An exemplary gay social history of a kind we deeply need.'   I enjoyed this very much and it left me with much food for thought.

'In My Mind's Eye' by Jan Morris.   'A Thought Diary'  Here Jan shares her daily thoughts on the World - 188 of them and not a bad book to keep by your bedside so that you can read one each day.   Very readable.

'The Little Grey Men' by BB.    I read this book many many years ago and a few weeks ago somebody in Blogland spoke about it.   I searched my bookshelves but couldn't find it.   Somewhere over the years it had disappeared.   So I bought myself another copy.   Not an adult book at all - not sure what age it is suitable for but I enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read it.    A story about the last gnomes left in Britain, who live at the foot of an old oak tree,
and their adventures - lots of wild life in the book, lots of 'adventures' - pure enjoyment.

'I am an Island' by Tamsin Calidas - a book much talked about, a book serialised on the BBC, a book which is proving quite controversial in the area it is written about I understand.   But the quality of the writing is outstanding and the story is beautifully told, so vivid that in places I had to stop reading it for a day or two until I was able to continue.

I can thoroughly recomment all four.

Our next book for book group, recommended by M, is to be 'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles.   I have ordered it and I await its arrival keenly.


Sunday 2 August 2020

A Normal Sunday

As my regular readers will remember, Sundays always used to follow the same format - shower, get dressed up in my Sunday Best (usually featuring one of my leather jackets which sadly have not been out of my wardrobe for months)- collect my dear old friend (99) and tootle off with friends W and C for lunch at The Golf Club.   Alas, not since the end of March when all such jollifications ended.   Now I have to think of my own Sunday lunch.   I woke at half past six as I usually do, put my hand out of bed to pick up the bedside clock so that I could see the time, and promptly dropped it on the carpet.   I picked it up and put it back on the bedside table, turned over and thought I would have another half hour.   Next time I looked it was still half past six - something had happened to the clock when I dropped it.  It was actually nine o'clock and when I drew back the curtains my neighbour was already working in her garden.

Shower, dress and a walk round with Percy brought me through to lunch time and shortly after lunch friend H invited me for a cup of tea - socially distanced of course.   Another day pleasantly passed and the pleasure of watching Country File and then Antiques Road Show this evening.

Things seem to be getting worse with Covid again which is a worrying trend for everyone.   I personally have got quite used to the semi isolation of Lockdown and I don't find it irksome.   In fact I think that fitting back into society as it was before might be quite difficult - that kind of life all seems so long ago.   I am going out tomorrow morning to our first Book Group Meeting, masked and sanitised of course.   We are meeting at our local  Arts Venue and rather than discuss the last recommended book we read (which is so long ago that I think we have all forgotten too much about it to really discuss it)  we intend to discuss further plans and then have been asked to take any books which we have enjoyed over the period of Lockdown.   I intend to take On the Red Hill and I am an Island.  Hopefully we will all give one another ideas for more reading matter and our next book will be recommended.   Is it a sign that life is beginning to return to normal - I hope so, although I have my doubts.  My Grandson had intended to marry in October but has put his wedding on hold for a year because of the outbreak - several guests would have been coming from abroad and both grand mothers are over 80 so in the danger zone for even a small wedding (and even those are banned again at the moment).   Strange times indeed,

Saturday 1 August 2020

Saturday -

Last evening we really had a most spectacular storm.   The temperature was up to thirty degrees here all afternoon - quite too hot to really do very much.   Then the sky  began to darken and it became quite the most beautiful sky I have ever seen with oranges, blues, greens and strange lights through the very black clouds.   Lots of lightning  but we had very little thunder which leads me to think that the storm was quite a long way away from here.   Today it is a much more pleasant day and the air is much fresher.

We had our usual Zoom coffee morning - always a nice happening on Saturdays and Tuesdays - just six of us - all old friends so all very relaxing.   Then I had decided to make a start on updating my records.   I like to leave all my affairs in good order so I decided to make a start.   When I came to print out the work I found that I couldn't get my printer to work.   It is a new printer and was set up for me by my friend S about a month ago and it worked perfectly so I knew it was something I was doing wrong, but I couldn't work out what it was.  My son got on the phone and tried talking me through the stages and suddenly I realised the stage I was missing out.   I was not 'telling' my printer which model it was!!  One click and like magic it began to print.  Success.

Then I started on my lunch - I made a tray roast (with enough for tomorrow) of good quality pork sausage, red onions, new potatoes, red peppers and courgettes, tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven with just a sprinkling of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.   It was delicious.   I wilted a good handful of spinach leaves over the top for the last five minutes - just because I have spinach in the fridge which needed eating up and I know it is good for me (and don't call me Mrs Popeye! (can't think of her name).   And I haven't spoken to many folk today (apart of course from the Zoom coffee girls) - just my son who brought round some bananas for me and the window cleaner who called and gave my windows a good clean.

That has been the extent of the energy I have used up today  - no walk, no exercises.

Just thought - was Mrs Popeye called Olive Oil (answers on a postcard please!)